Nobody Knows Anything, So Buckle Up
I was going to do another listicle about ten things that I've been noticing in all this mess, but I've decided not too. I just can't anymore. It's emotionally draining on a good day and it's also because none of it actually matters, because finding the truth in a hurricane of shit is next to impossible. I'm sure, like Mulder and Scully in The X-Files that the truth is out there- but I've come to the conclusion that unless something changes- and there's an increasingly non-zero chance that something might change, then we're not just sailing into a post-industrial economy, we're sailing into a post-factual world.
Yes, everyone is entitled to their feelings and their own facts now. That's the world we live in. CBS News got caught faking a corona virus test line. The media is not structured to report on a pandemic where information is constantly being gathered, scientists learn more about this and waht works and what doesn't with every passing week. The media can't deal with that- and if the media can't deal with that, thanks to the incestuous tentacles that die the media/cultural/business/entertainment/government Cthulu of the Coasts, neither can anyone else.
Nobody knows anything, so buckle up.
I've learned these past weeks that seem like centuries that data can say just about anything you want. Everyone has their preferred model. Somehow, the way we're handling a pandemic has become politicized and sucked down into the morass of the Culture Wars and I'm not at all about that. I don't want to hear about your Red and Blue or your Governor this and their Governor that. I don't care. We're in the middle of a pandemic- the biggest one in a hundred years and if people feel like we've been overreacting a little bit, well good- that means it was the right thing to do. But this isn't about binary choices. We don't get to go over here and make one policy choice and that's that. Policy, in this case, has to evolve with the pandemic and boo howdy, our government isn't up for that. It can't turn and wheel on a dime. It's slow, ponderous- and it's not just about money or lack of funding- it's about bureaucracy. We're bloated and inefficient and in the 21st Century if the Progs want anyone to get onboard with any of their big ideas they need 21st Century bureaucracy. Decentralized and responsive. Able to recognize that in a country this big, a solution in Washington D.C. may not be that great when you ship it up to Poughkeepsie or down to Peoria.
But that's a challenge for another day.
So, where does this leave us? I feel like Iowa was doing okay. Kimmie seemed to be following the data and taking measured, responsible steps to prevent the spread of the virus. Then, it got into the meat-packing plants and everything went sideways. Or did it? Were we at this level all along and what we're seeing now is just a more accurate picture of what's been here all along? We're doing all these mass testings in the plants-- how many people are asymptomatic vs symtomatic? We just passed 10,000 cases which seems like a big scary number- but if 3,000 of those are asymptomatic? Suddenly it's not a great number, but it's not as scary. Hospitalization rates are manageable- so far-- but speaking of hospitals, we've got to let them crawl out from behind the bushes because otherwise, you end up in a situation where you're furloughing nurses and doctors and maybe even laying off nurses and doctors and that just seems like a questionable thing to have to do- in the middle of a pandemic. There's more than one way to crash your health care system, I guess. Who knew?
We're in the process of moving the mother-in-law in with us (long story) but as we make our trips up north to retrieve her stuff, it's kind of an 80/20 split. You see people with masks, moving with purpose, keeping their distance and then you see others that are just doing their thing. There's a meme- a terrible, rage-inducing meme floating around Facebook where people provide their justifications for wearing a mask. Fuck that. I'm wearing a mask because if this virus is out there, it's gonna have to fucking try to get my ass. You want to end up choking on your own lung fluid in an ICU somewhere all in the name of 'Merica and Freedom? Have fun. Me, I'm going to survive. Me, I'm going to mainline Vitamin D, Zinc and down Vodka Tonics by the gallon- and it might be like trying to dig a well with a paper clip in the grand scheme of things, but any little bit helps, right?
What gives me hope? Twitter has this thing where a study on something related to this will surface and show one thing and then the next day, someone will point out all the flaws in the study. A lot of science right now is messy as hell becasue the smartest people in the world are trying to do a lot of this on the fly as quickly as possible, but despite that: there's a lot of science going on right now. There's 102 vaccines underway across the world-- the law of large numbers alone means that at least one of them has gotta be right. Remdesivir seems to help- somewhat. And if the summer brings us a break through or two in a couple of more theraputics to help the cause then maybe, maybe I'll start to relax a little bit. (Also, weirdly, this gives me hope as well. Of all the ex-Presidents out there, the last one I would have expected to offer such a powerful rejoinder to the current occupant of the White House was Dubya. Despite the fact I disagreed with him on a lot of things, it was a heart-wrenching reminder of an earlier time where we all hadn't lost our minds. Where life seemed sane. And it was a powerful and important message to hear from someone.)
It's easy to get lost in the hurricane of shit these days. Our media is designed to report the bad news first, because clicks. It's a negative vortex out there and what you read today might change three times in the next week or so- so you feel hopeless, because there's bad data everywhere and even if you want to try and figure out what's going on for yourself, it's next to impossible. I stopped commenting on those Reddit threads weeks ago, because people don't care if you poke their data. It's their data. They're feeling things and they've got the data to prove it. And oh hey- late breaking news, with 600 some odd cases shiny and new today, we're getting off the hook here in Johnson County with malls, fitness and other fun stuff being allowed to reopen.
But it's all cool, because we've got 80% of ICU beds available. So it'll all be fine. Just FINE.
You get the feeling like the people in charge have no idea what they're doing? Because call me crazy, but I am not reassured.
So: wash your hands, stay at home as much as you can, if you gotta go out, make it quick and stick to your plan and wear a mask.